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Degree Requirements

This section provides an overview of the requirements you must complete to earn an undergraduate degree at UChicago. The UChicago College curriculum has three components: general education requirements (commonly known as the Core), a major, and general electives. All together, this must equal at least 4200 units of credit. Of total credits earned, at least 3800 units must be earned via course enrollment, as opposed to credit from AP exams or back credit earned through placement.

We recommend familiarizing yourself with this information and the page focusing on Placement and AP Tests

General Education (Core)

These requirements, commonly known as the Core, teach you the skills of critical inquiry, argumentation, and analytical thinking in both quantitative and qualitative settings, creating a foundation for all later study in the College. Designed to be completed in your first two years, the Core is a quintessential element of the "Life of the Mind." Most Core requirements are completed with sequences comprised of two or three courses, and, collectively, they require a total of 15 courses (1500 units of credit). Most students will focus primarily, if not exclusively, on Core courses in their first year.

There are seven general education requirements all students must complete, falling into three categories:

  1. Humanities, Arts, and Civilization Studies
  2. Social Sciences
  3. Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Biological Sciences

All students must also complete a Language Competency requirement.


You must complete at least one of the 50+ majors offered in the College at UChicago. They vary in size, from 10 to 19 courses (1000-1900 units of credit), and your major might dictate how you need to satisfy some of your foundational Core requirements. You can find details about your prospective major's requirements, including any specific expectations they have for your Core requirements, on their "Program of Study" page in the College Catalog

General Electives

After you complete your Core requirements (for a total of 1500 units), and your major (1000-1900 units), you need additional credits to hit the 4200 minimum units required to graduate. These additional courses are called "General Electives" and can be anything not satisfying a general education or major requirement, including courses used for secondary majors, minors, and the language competency requirement. Every student must complete between 800 and 1700 general elective units, depending on the size of their major.